“Fortune” Features Prof. Blakey re: Russian Court Case

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faculty_blakey Notre Dame Law School Professor G. Robert Blakey, author of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), is prominently featured in a “Fortune” magazine article for his role in a multi-billion dollar lawsuit filed by the Russian Customs Service against the Bank of New York Mellon Corp. Blakey has been retained as an expert for Russia on civil RICO. The case is being tried in a Moscow commercial court.

At question is whether the Bank of New York must pay damages for the $7.5 billion it allegedly helped smuggle out of Russia through a senior Bank of New York Vice President in the late 1990s. Russia is invoking RICO to help make its case. RICO is a United States federal law that provides for enhanced criminal and civil sanctions for unlawful acts performed as part of an ongoing “enterprise,” including a corporation like the Bank. It provides a civil claim for relief for those injured by violations of the Act. This is the first time a civil RICO case has been brought before a foreign court.

“This litigation is precedent-making of the first order,” says Blakey. “Foreign courts regularly apply the law of other nations, for example, in the interpretation of a contract. But never, to my knowledge, has an entire federal statute been incorporated into foreign law as the basis for a claim for relief. If the litigation is successful, it opens the door for victims of international violence or financial scams to secure comprehensive relief in their own courts, obviating the need for them to travel to the United States to vindicate their claims.”

In addition to his RICO expertise, Blakey has considerable knowledge about federal and state wiretapping statutes. He helped draft and secure passage of Title III on wiretapping of the federal 1968 Crime Control Act, and has been personally involved in drafting and implementing wiretapping legislation in 39 of the 43 states that have enacted such laws.

His other activities include extensive work investigating the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He served as chief counsel and staff director to the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations from 1977 to 1979, and helped to draft the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992.

He has held numerous special-consultant or counsel positions within the federal government, including the President’s Commission for Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice (1966-67), the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Title III on wiretapping and electronic surveillance (1967-68), the National Commission on the Reform of the Federal Penal Law (1968), the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Criminal Laws and Procedures (1969-73)(chief counsel), the National Commission on the Review of Policy Toward Gambling (1974-76), the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee (white-collar crime) (1985-86), and the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, (white-collar crime and RICO reform) (1988).

He has actively participated in a number of professional organizations including the ABA’s Project for Minimum Standards in Criminal Justice, Electronic Surveillance (reporter 1967-68), the National Commission on the Review of Federal and State Law Relating to Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance (presidential appointment 1974-75), the Twentieth Century Fund, Task Force on Legalized Gambling (member 1974), the National Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals, Task Force on Organized Crime (attorney general appointment 1976), and the ABA’s RICO Cases Committee (vice chair 1985).

Link to the entire article at: http://money.cnn.com/2008/09/23/news/companies/parloff_bank_new_york.fortune/index.htm

Contact: G. Robert Blakey, 574-631-5717, Blakey.1@nd.edu